Terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan after 9/11
Series: Da Aman Awaz
Topic: Terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan after 9/11
Studio Guest # 1: Brigadier (Retd.) Mehmood Shah
(Former secretary FATA, Military Intelligence of Balochistan and security analyst)
Field Story No1: Terrorism in the tribal area after 9/11
(Kamran Afridi- Khyber Agency)
Field Story No2: Terrorism in Pakistan after 9/11
(Salman Ahmad- Peshawar)
Anchor Person: Shams Mohmand
Shams Mohmand: What do you think that when 9/11 happened, at that time, the Al-Qaida was as strong to attack America?
Mehmood Shah: When that incident took place then I told that Middle East is responsible for this and some subversive forces in Afghanistan are also involved in it. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for this and they were making plans from a long time to attack US. In 2000, I was the director of military intelligence in Balochistan. Many people were coming from Afghanistan and they were showing me the videos of the trainings of militants there. So I told them that the Government of Pakistan knows very well that what the militants are doing there, what are their vested interests and whether these are in favor of Pakistan or not? I told them on the basis of videos of trainings of militants that these people are getting trained for the urban warfare and sea wars. In Afghanistan both of them did not exist. The target could be Pakistan or If they did terrorism in the western countries then what will be its effect on Pakistan, I wrote all above points in a letter to the then president of Pakistan. Many high officials along with the president of Pakistan noted those points.
They were getting special upstream swimming trainings, army style obstacles and many more.
The names came on surface who belonged to the Hamburg cell of Germany, people like Atta Muhammad who met Osama in Afghanistan and there is Osamaâs own interview where he admitted and said he is happy on 9/11 attacks.
Interestingly all of them were of the Middle East and no one was from Afghanistan.
Shams Mohmand: There were more than 100 stories of the world trade center that was demolished just because a small aircraft hit it. How is it possible?
Mehmood Shah: In the construction of a building, steel is used to make it strong. The steel meltdown as a result of extreme temperature and that is why the building came down. Steel is the best inductor of heat and terrorist had planned very well that how much fuel is enough to melt down this steel.
During the construction best engineering was involved but obviously they havenât considered or expected this kind of happening.
Shams Mohmand: After 9/11, America demanded Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan. What do you think that Osama should have left Afghanistan for the sake of civil people?
Mehmood Shah: They should have gone out of Afghanistan. Before their arrival in Afghanistan they were in Sudan but they were involved in militancy there, so they asked them to leave Sudan. Moreover in Afghanistan, the Shura of the religious leaders of Afghanistan stated that the Osama bin Laden should leave this country but the Mulla Omar rejected the decision of Shura. In our Pakhtun custom, we asylum those people who are oppressed and want a safe haven. Not to those who are tyrant.
When I was Secretary of the FATA, many cases of Panaha (Refuge) came to me and I decided on the bases that refuge should be given only to the oppressed not to everyone. Giving refuge to a killer means destroying our own society
In Bajuar agency there was a case where a family gave refuge to person who have killed many people and mutilated their bodies by cutting their ear and noses. I told that refuge giving family that first you were not aware that what this person has did; now when you know you must handover him.
Same is the case with Afghanistan that when they released they should do what was appropriate.
Shams Mohmand: If it is not a part of our culture to give asylum a militant, then why Pakhtuns are unable to kick them out. What factors are behind this?
Mehmood Shah: The factors are given below;
1. The Taliban came there and people treat them as guests.
2. They were Muslims, so people welcome them.
3. They have a lot of money, so they hired houses for very high rents.
4. They used the Islamic beliefs to get sympathies of the locals.
5. They were kidnapping those who were against them and were slaughtering them.
6. But now the people know that these people are militants. The people are frightened.
Kamran Afridi: After 9/11 US attacked Afghanistan and the terrorism started in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. For this a respondent said;
Respondent # 1: (Habib Ullah- Khyber Agency) Our whole property, land, animals and such other things were destroyed. We did not need any aid; we just want peace in our area.
Kamran Afridi: According to news agencies' reports, in tribal areas there were 60 suicide bomb explosions. In which 947 people were dead and 1463 were injured. There were also 220 bomb explosions in which 340 were dead and 514 were injured. According to the education department of tribal areas, there are 5613 educational institutes in the tribal areas. In which 450 were blown up by bomb explosions, and 540 were closed. As a result approximately 5 lac studentsâ education suffered.
Respondent # 2: (Abdullah- Student of Kohi Sher-e-Dar College) From the last 11 years the people of tribal areas are facing the most critical situation. The education and business of local people was endured and a big number of them were displaced and came to the settled areas, where they are facing financial hardships. So they get involved in crimes and terrorism.
Kamran Afridi: According to news report reports, till now there were 344 drone attacks in which 3325 people dead and 1362 were injured. There were 860 hospitals built in the tribal areas. But the health department of the FATA Secretariat denied informing us about the number of hospitals, which were destroyed or closed due to militancy. According to the people of FATA, the health facilities are insufficient. The president of the union of journalism in tribal areas (TEJ) named Safdar Hayyat Dawar said;
Safdar Hayyat Dawar: Before 2001 the tribal areas were secure, but now there is insecurity so the 90% people suffered from this and facing psychological disorders. The only solution of the problem is that peace should be restored.
Kamran Afridi: More than 2 lac families were displaced from their areas and due to critical situations they are facing psychological problems. For this the teacher of Psychology Department of Peshawar University, Aftab Bangash said:
Aftab Bangash: In such situations, psychological problems are common. The people start facing headache, sleeplessness, frightening and such other problems.
Kamran Afridi: The people who are affected psychologically should get involved in different jobs and businesses and government should provide them job opportunities.
(Kamran Afridi-CRSS, Khyber Agency)
Shams Mohmand: As was mentioned in the report that there was a lot of destruction in the tribal areas after 9/11. It is said that our area has some geographical importance thatâs why we are facing war and terror, but there are other such areas which have some geographical importance but they are not facing such problems. Whether we have imposed this war on us or someone else imposed this?
Mehmood Shah: It is a reality that the losses of America in 9/11 incident is the minor loss in front of the losses of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our geographical importance could be fruitful for us but we did not utilize it in a proper manner. We should make our economy strong, as we are weak just because of our financial hardships. It is because of so much corruption in our country. So we should solve our social, political and economic problems firstly. We make this thing clear to America that you think that you defeated the Russians but the local people claim that they defeated Russia.
Caller # 1: (Said Akbar Mehsud- Khyber Agency) If the government of Afghanistan had handed over the Osama to the America then I think that America will not have attacked Afghanistan.
Shams Mohmand: Mr. Mehmood said that the Shura declared their decision for Osama to leave Afghanistan; we did not talk about hand him over to America.
Shams Mohmand: Now days our society is being destroyed due to militancy, but our local people believe that they defeated America. So what would you say about this?
Mehmood Shah: We should not claim this, as we suffered a lot of losses. Moreover I mentioned this many times that America should develop this area to solve the problem of war and terror. But they have no interest in the development of this area. They have some other vested interests.
They spent trillions of dollars on war. Quarter of it was enough to win the hearts and minds of the people by doing developmental work in a real sense.
You developed Marshal Plan for the Europe and the whole area is constantly stabilized and peaceful after that. When we scarified for you during cold full fledge war with Russia, you should have a (Marshal Plan type) plane for us after that.
Caller # 2: (Abdullah Afridi- Khyber Agency) If the America wants Osama then they killed him in Abbottabad. Then why are they continuing their war till now?
Caller # 3: (Mukamil Shah- Peshawar) We fought against India in 1965 and 1971 but the loss was not as much, but after 9/11 till now we are living in war and terror situations and the loss of lives and property is so much. So who is responsible for this loss?
Mehmood Shah: I wanted to clear this thing that the interest of America was not only Osama, their interest is that they want to stay in Afghanistan. In a meeting I asked a question to the Americans that when you will leave Afghanistan then what would you claim that what you did for this country? They answered that âwhy would we leave Afghanistan? Have we leaved South Korea?
I folded my files back and he said that âwhy you got angry?â
I said I am not angry but worried that if you are not aware of the difference between Afghanistan and South Korea, you will face a hard time than.
Caller # 4: (Taimoor- DaraAdam Khel) America is not responsible for our major loss in this war. America has just carried out drone attacks in North Waziristan but all tribal agencies suffered a lot because of our own army and they often target the local civilians.
Mehmood shah: When the military operation was going to start then I said to the Army Chief that two major problems will be there, one is that 30 lace people are expected to become IDPs, and the second will be the collateral damage. So during that operation the targets were very limited. So everywhere our army should try to save the people of our own country. In a war such incidents occur due to weak planning or bad luck. Our army never target or attack any civilian intentionally.
Caller # 5: (Zameer Shah- Peshawar) It is said that there are Taliban in the tribal areas, but our intelligence experts say that there are no Taliban, but there is government, which is involved in such activities. So if there is no Taliban then why such propaganda is promoted?
Salman Ahmad: After 9/11 America and many other countries suffered a lot. After 9/11 Pakistan became a partner of America. How this incident affected our area? For this a notable writer and journalist named Fakhar Kaka Khel said:
Fakhar Kaka Khel: Due to 9/11 America suffered badly, but after that for the last eleven years other countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, China and Europe affected badly. There are different aspects of the impact that one is psychological depression and disorders, more over this time of our social problems left behind as the whole attention of the government is diverted towards war and terror problem which required an immediate solution.
Salman Ahmad: According to a report, Pakistanâs economic sector lost approximately $75 billion. The loans of Pakistan increased from 30 billion dollars to 65 billion dollars. The international imports, exports were affected badly in Pakistan. Till now the foreign investors did not invest their money in Pakistan. For this the Professor Zalakat Khan of Department of Economics, Peshawar University said:
Professor Zalakat Khan: Pakistan suffered more than America and NATO in this war. Even the local people shifted their investments to the other countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Dubai. Pakistan believes that the partnership with America will be fruitful for it, but that affected Pakistan badly.
Salman Ahmad: Besides the economy, the industrial sector also suffered a lot. For this, the executive member of the Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce, and president of âMutahhida Tanzeem-e-Tajiraanâ said:
Muhammad Waris Khan Afridi: Here were 3500 industries, but now that number is reduced to 310. So a large number of people, who were employed in those industries, were unemployed. This unemployment leads to increase in crime rate and terrorism.
Salman Ahmad: According to the âInstitute of Conflict Managementâ approximately 40000 people dead in the wave of terrorism, including 3000 security forces, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa there were 200 suicide bomb explosions in which 2500 were dead and 6000 were injured. Pakistan Army started military operations in Swat and tribal areas. There were also two major incidents in which militants attacked at Army General Headquarters Mehran Base and Kamra Base.
(Salman Ahmad-CRSS, Peshawar)
Shams Mohmand: What do you think that when this war will end?
Mehmood Shah: This problem started when the Soviet Union crossed the border. So this strategic mistake was made by the Russia and the whole region was destabilized. And our culture is more associated with the British culture, as we can see our laws, education, etc.
Shams Mohmand: It is a situation which made us frightened, that if we make proper planning, even then our problems will be solved in ten years. Tell us about our policies of the last thirty years, whether they are positive or negative for our country? Are we following the âStrategic Depthâ policy still or we have modified, revoked, diverted or reformed it?
Mehmood Shah: Currently our society is in decline. Firstly we should eliminate the corruption from our country and make it culturally a taboo. Instead of being clever we need to be fair and hardworking.
We can collect a lot of money through the tax system, but people did not pay it because they did not believe in government due to corruption in it. Our government can deal the foreign policies but here is lack of financial resources.
Shams Mohmand: can we say that our state/government and politicians are not able to understand the international politics?
Mehmood Shah: No, I think they are able to understand but the issue is that we donât have money at home and whatever we have is mostly wasted because of corruption.
Shams Mohmand: We should be sincere with our country. We need sincere leadership. Stay blessed. Good Bye.
Disclaimer: This is the summation of whole talk, for complete information, listen the programme online.